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. >> reporter: pope benedict delivered his final blessing to tens of thousands from his apartment overlooking saint peters square. between rounds of applause and emotional prayers -- >> i had some tears from my eyes. >> reporter: the holy father said he is not abandoning the church. he is retiring to spend his final years in prayer. the 85-year-old is stepping down on thursday. the first pope to do so in 600 years. >> you can feel it is something special among the people here. >> reporter: cardinals from around the world are arriving in rome to elect the next pope. what is normally a delicate transition has been interrupted by morale tkpwaeugs of scandal. >> italian media is reporting that the pope decided to resign after learning that a secret room of gay priests were being blackmailed. >> reporter: closed door vatican discussions about the allegations. the church calls the report false. >> it is focused on scandals in the church. again some, have been very, very real. nobody is denying them. the focus only goes to that we are deflected t
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